“So,” Derek said. “Breakfast?”
I thought about it. “Sure. I could eat.” We were just in his room, talking strategy and tactics for the inevitable fight against the Composer. Considering how empty the streets had been recently, we could do that pretty much anywhere. “Do you know where Lily is right now?”
He flipped out his phone. “MC will. Why, you want to eat there?”
I shrugged. “May as well. Good to have a friendly face around, maybe bounce some more ideas off her.”
The problem we were having was the same as with the screamers, only more so. There was just so much we didn’t know, it was impossible to even be the slightest bit prepared. We had managed to compile a partial list of the Blackguards Elizabeth had on her side, but that was only mildly helpful.
Steven Nabassu, Elizabeth’s butler. He was a shifter and could create wings strong enough to fly. He had been with her for a long time, which might explain why his power was so strong.
Molydeus, the big fat demon with super strength Adam had killed on the Ring. He had said his name was George Nabassu, which according to public record made him the butler’s brother. His power had also been pretty strong, so maybe he had been converted a while ago too.
Elizabeth’s Jotuun driver, Marcus Oleander. The flier, like Robyn Joan. Akane had killed him during the rooftop ambush.
Willamar Enos, Derek’s cane history teacher. We weren’t sure what his power was, though it was probably either hypnotism or some telepathy ability to let his boss borrow his body. Either way, he had been killed by the Mal strike team sent in to contain the situation.
The gator Lambert Kraus, the croc Tommi Pekkanen, the troll Alan Stojanovic, and the demon triplets from the alley ambush. We didn’t know the gator’s powers since Akane had killed him too fast, but Pekkanen could shift to mist, Stojanovic could heal himself, and the pod-brained triplets had that fire/electricity combo going on. They were all dead, of course, though I wished we had saved at least one of the girls for study.
Zusa Pham, Seena’s Nosferatu friend. She apparently had telepathy, and had used it to let Elizabeth take over her body and speak to Maeve at the fey’s coming out. Maeve had killed her using another girl…what was her name? Another vampire. She had used another girl as a bomb to kill Pham.
And, of course, Ling’s old orphanmate, Mitchel St. John. We didn’t know what his power was, other than that it apparently wasn’t healing himself, and we still had his hand, though scans on that weren’t showing anything interesting.
In theory, that meant there were only two Blackguards left, Nabassu and St. John. But we knew better than to assume that; not only were there likely more waiting on the sidelines, Elizabeth had implied she could make as many as she wanted. It might take her a little while to recruit new ones, but she’d do it sooner rather than later.
“Lily’s at Carne Sandwiches,” Derek said, jostling me out of my reverie as he snapped his phone shut.
I blinked. “Again? I thought she only worked there like once a month?”
He shrugged. “Ezio’s one of the only people still open, and his daughters refuse to leave the house.”
“Oh, well, okay.” I thought about it for a second. “He has salads too, right?”
Derek shrugged. “Pretty sure. All I know he doesn’t do is seafood.”
That made me roll my eyes. “That idiot. He hates everything to do with the ocean, but he lived on the Ring for ten years.”
He held the door open for me before locking it behind us. “I think that was something about his wife.”
“What, she insisted on living in a cold shack for a decade?”
“Don’t ask me. He gets a little bit closed off if you ask him about it.”
“Well, whatever.” We reached the elevator, slipping by a maintenance man who had just finished on the speakers in the corner of the hallway, and I pushed the button. “I know his daughters are happier about it.”
Derek gave me an odd look. “He moved…ten years ago? No, nine. They would have been six and five. Do they even remember living out there?”
“What are you talking about? He lived on the Ring since he left his mom’s place when he was sixteen, and only moved back three years ago.”
The blond monster slayer chewed his lip. “Are you sure?”
The elevator dinged and the doors opened. Luckily, it was empty, so there was none of the normal shoving and squeezing to make room. I swear, half the time it’s so bad it makes me want to take the stairs.
As the doors closed behind us with a hiss, I sniffed the air. “Do you smell that?” It was something sweet, and familiar, but—
Derek’s eyes went wide. “GAS!”
I saw him trying to cover his face as the world went black.
Behind the Scenes (scene 183)
Sorry for the short one, but this works best as a cliffhanger. There will not be an extra update on Wednesday. Next one will be on Monday, as usual.